Kajari is loved and cared for! Thanks to you
Kajari’s first leprosy symptoms appeared when she was just 10 years old. But it wasn’t diagnosed for over 30 years!
This terrible delay has changed her life. Because of severe ulcers and absorption, she has very short stubs instead of fingers and badly deformed feet.
Now nearly 60, she still gets ulcers, particularly on her feet and travels 180 miles to DBLM Hospital at Nilphamari for treatment.
Kajari grew up in a colony for sweepers. Her family and neighbours are some of the poorest people in their community. None of them have had much education and they do their best to make a living sweeping or cleaning for others.
She still has scars from the very first leprosy patches she had as a girl. Over time she has seen her hands and feet get worse and worse.
Early every morning you will see her walking slowly, taking small, careful steps towards the school. It takes her 45 minutes to go the half mile to get there. She sweeps the floors for about an hour before making her way carefully home.
For a while Kajari struggled to trust that the staff at the hospital really wanted to help her – why would anyone want to help someone like her? Now she sees it as a place of safety and care. She recently spent 3 months at the hospital because of a severe ulcer on her left foot.
She can often feel very despondent about her life. “Sometimes I feel it’s better to go away. If God takes me away, that is good … I wanted to have a family. And a better job. But I lost hope of that ever happening when I lost my fingers”
Despite this, Kajari laughs a lot and is very cheeky too. She has made friends with Asma and Anwara, whom she met at DBLM. They live near each other and often spend time together. Kajari often makes mock grumpy comments which make the other two laugh hysterically. Kajari then cackles with laughter herself.
Just being around the three of them would make you smile, even if you didn’t know what they were saying.
Some of the laughter is thanks to you. Thanks to you Kajari can get all the help she needs from the hospital, where she found people who love and care for her, and where she made good friends to share life with.
DBLM hospital in Northern Bangladesh is the only specialist hospital in the region. Thanks to you, the medical care, physiotherapy and other help that people like Kajari need will be available whenever they need it. Perhaps most importantly, the loving touch of someone who cares will be there too – your love for people affected by leprosy will be transmitted through the hospital.
Photos: Tom Bradley